Saturday, March 19, 2022
11:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Opening Panel

How Can Self-Publishing Work for You?

11:05–11:50 PM

Self-publishing continues to open myriad new possibilities for writers. This discussion spotlights the different paths taken by a select group of indie-authors to find success.

Michael Anderle
Michael Anderle began writing full time at the age of 45, and since then he has sold over 4,000,000 books worldwide either under his name alone or as a collaborator with other well-known authors. He is a Dragon Award finalist as co-author with Craig Martelle for the Best Military Science Fiction novel of the year for 2018. Anderle has also established a publishing company called LMBPN® (for London, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, New York) which has authors from the USA, Australia, England, Canada, and various other countries around the world. Currently, Anderle resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tarryn Fisher
Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nine novels. Born a sun hater, she currently makes her home in Seattle, Washington, with her children, husband, and psychotic husky. She loves connecting with her readers on Instagram.
An Honest Lie by Tarryn Fisher
Christina Jones
Christina C. Jones is a bestselling romance novelist and digital media creator. A timeless storyteller, she is lauded by readers for her ability to seamlessly weave the complexities of modern life into captivating tales of Black characters in nearly every romance subgenre. In addition to her full-time writing career, she co-founded Girl, Have You Read–a popular digital platform that amplifies black romance authors and their stories.
No Longer Afraid by Christina Jones
Melissa Marr
Melissa Marr writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. Her books have been translated into 28 languages and have been bestsellers overseas and in the US (New York Times, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal). She is best known for the Wicked Lovely series (HarperTeen) and Bunny Roo (PenguinKids). Recently, she has published several indie books–including the Faery Bargains series (faeries, magic, & draugr), as well as the ebook & print versions of her Audible Original thriller, Pretty Broken Things. Upcoming releases include more indie titles, a graphic novel via D.C. Comics, and several books for Penguin. She teaches sporadically in an MFA program.
The Wicked Dead

Reading a Book By Its Cover

11:55 AM–12:10 PM

The right cover design can make or break your book. In this panel a team of graphic artists will critique book covers submitted by attendees, pointing out pitfalls to avoid and providing tips to help your book standout.

Michelle Argyle
Michelle Argyle has been designing for over 20 years and creates covers and other design materials, as well as typesetting and formatting. In 2010 she created Melissa Williams Design for a small publisher. Since then, she has taken on many other clients. She finds no greater joy than transforming someone’s idea into a piece of marketable art. She believes details are everything. Michelle also enjoys writing and has 10 publications to her name. MW Design is now owned by MDA Books, which is the name under which Michelle publishes her fiction. Michelle lives in the Rocky Mountains where she finds every excuse possible to go hiking and be outdoors.
Amy Carlin

Amy M. Carlin has been an avid reader since childhood, devouring literature of any and every genre. Amy has been typesetting and editing since high school and received an editing minor from Brigham Young University in 2013. Since that time, Amy has added cover design and audiobook narration to her skill set. Amy also loves yoga and music, has classical vocal training, and enjoys acting in occasional stage and film productions. She lives in Springville, Utah, with her sword-wielding husband and two cats.

Breakout Sessions I

12:15–12:40 PM     |     12:50–1:15 PM

In back-to-back rounds of breakout sessions, choose between Amazon Best Practices and Achieving Picture Book Success at 12:15 PM, followed by a choice between Beyond Amazon and Making Your Mark in Nonfiction at 12:50 PM.

Pitch Perfect

1:15–1:30 PM

A well-crafted pitch can get your book noticed. In this session, PR professionals and agents will critique book descriptions submitted by attendees to show how a perfect pitch can open up opportunities.

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman has spent nearly 25 years working in the book publishing industry, with a focus on author education and trend reporting. She is the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, which was named 2020 Media Outlet of the Year by Digital Book World. Learn more at

Second Panel

Authenticity in Storytelling: Writing it Right

1:35–2:20 PM

Creating characters and situations beyond our own lived experiences that are believable and reflect today’s cultural sensitivities presents a formidable challenge. This panel emphasizes the importance of getting it right. Learn the best ways to achieve authenticity in your work, including the potential use of sensitivity readers and having an understanding of #OwnVoices stories to ensure that every character and book can have the most impact.

Raquel Shante de Lemos
Raquel Shante de Lemos is the cofounder and creative director of Big Black Chapters, a platform dedicated to showcasing the literary works of Black and African American indie authors. When she’s not writing, Raquel spends her time managing clients, scrolling social media for relatable memes, and running a sex positivity blog.
Renee Harleston

Renee Harleston is a sensitivity reader and founder of Writing Diversely. Prior to becoming a sensitivity reader, Renee followed her fascination with American history and culture, which led her to work in museum education and history nonprofits. Renee received her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology at Hunter College and her B.A. in Marketing at Pace University. She lives in Brooklyn by way of Florida and Virginia with her cat Sunday Blue. She’s fond of candy, imperfect women, and magic.

Chloe Liese

Chloe Liese writes romances reflecting her belief that everyone deserves a love story. Her stories pack a punch of heat, heart, and humor and often feature characters who are neurodivergent like herself. She is best known for her slow-burn, family saga contemporary romance series, The Bergman Brothers. When not dreaming up her next book, Chloe spends her time wandering in nature, playing soccer, and, most happily, at home with her family and mischievous cats.

Always Only You by Chloe Liese
Marshall Thornton

Marshall Thornton writes several popular mystery series, most notably the Boystown Mysteries and the Pinx Video Mysteries. He has won the Lambda Award for Gay Mystery three times. His romantic comedy, Femme, was also a 2016 Lambda finalist for Best Gay Romance. Other books include My Favorite Uncle, The Ghost Slept Over, and Fathers of the Bride. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Fathers of the Bride by Marshall Thornton


2:20–2:45 PM

Third Panel

Know Your Genre, Know Your Audience

2:45–3:30 PM

Never underestimate the importance of knowing your genre and audience. During this session, authors talk strategies for identifying where your book fits in.

Karen Booth

Karen Booth is the author of more than 40 contemporary romances full of breathless kisses, messy family dynamics, and more than a few things she’s glad her grandmother never read. She is the co-founder of the 4500+ member Facebook reader group, Seasoned Romance, dedicated to the promotion of romance with characters well over the age of 35. A midwestern girl transplanted in the South, Karen was raised on ’80s music and repeated readings of Forever by Judy Blume. In her spare time, she indulges her cat, snuggles with her husband, and texts too much with her two college-age kids.

It's a Widow Thing by Karen Booth
Alexa Kang
Alexa Kang is an author of WWII and 20th century historical fiction. Her works include the novel series Rose of Anzio, an epic love story that begins in 1940 Chicago and continues on to the historic Battle of Anzio in Italy; and the Shanghai Story trilogy, a saga chronicling the events in Shanghai leading up to WWII and the history of Jews and Jewish refugees in China. Her current work, the Nisei War Series, is a collection of stories about second-generation Japanese-Americans in war situations around the world during WWII.
The Girl with a Star-Spangled Heart by Alexa Kang
Derek Taylor Kent
Derek Taylor Kent is the author of 17 books, including titles published by HarperCollins, Holt/Macmillan, and Evolved Publishing. He has published 12 indie titles through Whimsical World, the publishing company he runs along with his wife. Best known for his children’s books, his bestselling, award-winning titles are treasured in hundreds of thousands of homes across the world. They include the 4-book, middle-grade series, Scary School, the bilingual picture book series, El Perro con Sombrero, the thriller Kubrick’s Game, and many more. His newest book, a collection of children’s poetry called Hysterical Rhymes and How You Can Rhyme Too! was released on March 15, 2022. Learn more at
My Homework Ate My Dog! by Derek Taylor Kent
Kathy Meis
Kathy Meis is the founder and CEO of Bublish, a complete publishing solution for today’s independent authors. With more than 30 years of experience in the media and publishing industries, Kathy has served in a wide variety of editorial and management positions at some of the industry’s leading companies. A professional writer, editor, ghostwriter, and successful publishing entrepreneur, Kathy speaks and blogs regularly on the subject of indie publishing, book promotion, author branding, social marketing, and discoverability. She has been a guest speaker at many conferences, including Book Expo America, Women in Media, GrubSteet, PubSmart, AuthorU, The San Francisco Writers Conference, IndieRecon, and New England Crime Bake, among others. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

Reading a Book By Its Cover II
3:30–3:45 PM

The right cover design can make or break your book. In this panel a team of graphic artists will critique book covers submitted by attendees, pointing out pitfalls to avoid and providing tips to help your book standout.

Amy Epright
A 22-year veteran of DIY Media Group, Amy Epright has designed everything from cassette tapes to cookbooks. As a member of the BookBaby design department, she leads a team of enthusiastic designers toward the goal of making every author’s dream come true in the form of a beautiful, professionally-designed book both author and artist can be proud of.
Becky Rodriguez-Smith

Becky Rodriguez-Smith has been a graphic design professional for 18 years, and has helped thousands of independent authors and musicians bring their creative visions to life. As the Director of Design Services at BookBaby, the nation’s fastest-growing self-publishing company, she inspires and mentors a team of designers dedicated to transforming raw manuscripts and cover concepts into professional published books. She lives in Philadelphia, PA where she enjoys crafting with her family.

Breakout Sessions II
3:50–4:15 PM     |     4:25–4:50 PM

In back-to-back rounds of breakout sessions, choose between Are Reviews and Contests Worth It? and Landing an Agent at 3:50 PM, followed by a choice between Becoming a Social Media Master and Why You Need an Editor at 4:25 PM.

Pitch Perfect: Round II
4:50–5:00 PM

A well-crafted pitch can get your book noticed. In this session, PR professionals and agents will critique book descriptions submitted by attendees to show how a perfect pitch can open up opportunities.

Nathan Bransford

Nathan Bransford is the author of the Jacob Wonderbar series (Dial Books for Young Readers) and How to Write a Novel. His writing and publishing blog has consistently been named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writers Digest. He works as a freelance editor in Brooklyn.

How to Write a Novel by Nathan Bransford

 Fourth Panel

Ask the Experts Anything

5:00–5:30 PM

This is your chance to put your questions to the experts. Panelists from previous sessions will gather for this final opportunity to ask the experts anything!

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